My strength is from a culmination of factors, but mostly it comes from the foundation that was built by my parents during my upbringing. In addition, it comes from actually putting into practice what I’ve acquired from them.
My father was born and raised in Iran. He’s outspoken, intelligent, tough, maybe has a bit of a temperJ, and is sweet and loving. He always taught me and my siblings to” Not let anyone walk all over you”; be straight with people, and he showed me that it can be done in a diplomatic way. Also, he taught that if you tell someone how you feel or what you want, and they don’t respect that – than “To hell with them!’ In this, he taught us to have confidence, be true to yourself, do what’s right, be generous, God exists and is running the show, don’t deal with anyone’s shit, if they try to give you shit, be straight with them and if they give you shit again to know at that point you’re done with them, because at that point, they are not respecting you and they don’t care about you. My dad taught us to not give our time and attention or love to someone who does not care for or respect you. And…to be good with yourself for that. Not all of these teachings were explicit. Some were definitely explicit – like ‘to hell with them!’ and not to let anyone walk all over you. But my dad truly practiced what he preached, and many of his teachings were demonstrated by him handling certain situations in his own life. My dad has a way of telling people off very diplomatically (the majority of the time). I always thought it was so impressive. It made me proud that he was so honest and strong but still cool about it. You’d know he was about to hold his ground, or disagree when he’d start saying, “With all due respect…” I always thought he was such a boss and classy about it all. I also saw how others reacted to him and that they thought about his reputation. He is the elder of the family, but he’s also just a stud.
My sweet dear mother contributed to my strength in a different way. She taught me how to be loving, patient (still a work in progress), generous, to be open minded, and to have faith and respect God. My mom and dad dealt with a lot of cultural differences and personality differences in their marriage. Needless to say, my dad is more dominant in nature, and I witnessed many times where my mom, hard as it was, tried to be understanding and open minded to their differences. Not just with my dad, but with anyone. I’ve always been able to talk to my mom about anything. She approaches life with being open and willing to understand the situation and person’s perspective. Stopping to reflect and understand the root of the issue is a core component to having strength. Strength can also be the ability to control your response. In this aspect, no offense Daddy, I learned this a bit more from Mommy dearest.
Both parents exhibited such strength mentally and emotionally. But I also love to be physically fit, and this definitely makes me feel strong. (Always a work in progress!) My dad was always preaching this too. He’s been lifting weights and exercising since he was 14 years old. He will be 80 next year, and I’m pretty sure he could destroy most of you young men! We had a full gym in our garage for as long as I could remember, and I’ve always been into sports. Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a new chapter in my life and is a journey. It requires strength in various ways. But being active and healthy in general makes me feel strong, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.
God makes me strong. My parents do have different religions technically but do agree on more than you’d think in that department, believe it or not. And I did take on many of their beliefs. Having faith that if I’m a good person, kind to others, love my parents, respect my self that I am serving God. I do believe that God does provide for me and has a path for me. I believe a lot more…but my point is that I do find strength in God.
My strength is not just from my parents or the foundation that they laid out. It is over time, trying to be my best self and put those ideas into practice: Being straight with people but in a nice way; not compromising myself; cutting something out of my life that is not feeding my soul; having patience to think things through and have perspective before acting. That practice creates strength too. The more you do it, the better you get, the easier it is to do, the more confident you become in yourself and proud you are of the person you are, and just continue to be true to yourself in everything. Lucky for me, I have four other siblings that experienced the same upbringing. They understand me better than anyone else on this earth and seeing how they implement many of the same tools from our parents, just reinforces it for me.
I find strength in so many other things in life – but what I’ve just talked about, I believe set the foundation for who I am, and the ability to find strength in other things.